The 2020-21 season is off and running, but Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat are still — at least a little bit — hung up on how last season ended inside the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World.
Their loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, Butler said Thursday, wasn’t how the championship series was supposed to go down.
“We still think that we should have won — and we were down a couple of guys,” Butler told GQ.
Butler: ‘I am where I need to be’
In his defense, the Heat were significantly shorthanded during the Finals.
Both Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic missed a significant chunk of that series, which the Lakers won 4-2, due to injuries. They dropped the first two games by a combined 38-points, and simply couldn’t recover from the early hole without two of their best players.
Butler, in his first season in Miami, averaged a team-high 26.2 points, 9.8 assists and 8.3 rebounds in the series.
Leading the Heat to the Finals, Butler recognized, changed how many fans of the league viewed him. Yet he insists that after a decade in the NBA and having played for four different teams that nothing is different. He’s still the same person, but he’s a lot happier now.
“Now everybody has a different outlook on who I am as a person and as a teammate and as a player, and I’ve been that same dude since I’ve become somebody in the league,” Butler told GQ. “You just saw me win a couple of games, so now you want to try to change that narrative? I don’t care about none of that. It means that I’m going to go out there and I’m going to compete.
“That’s me in everything that I do. Now, you know people want to try to switch up on me. Nah. I am where I need to be, where I want to be. In Miami. They love me for that.”
Though the Heat are just 4-5 so far this season and have a long way to go to return to the Finals, Butler’s expectations for his team still haven’t been met — even if many already think that’s the case.
“I think this year we did more than anybody thought that we would do,” Butler told GQ, “except for us.”
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